The day when Cairo Half Marathon runners woke up at 6am to join one of the longest runs Cairo Runners organised, they had no idea how many lives they would change just by paying the ticket of joining the marathon. That same day, the family who had been living in a house that was about to fall apart over their heads never knew that soon the miserable life they have been suffering for a while would find an end.
At Samta village in Beni Suef governorate, poverty is high. This has led to a high rate of fires and injuries due to using “Wabour” (a small primitive gas stove). The families, who daily risk their house to be set on fire just to cook their daily meals, were offered a safer alternative as simple as a cook from the profit of Cairo half marathon and “Ahl Masr”.
“Ahl Masr” (The people of Egypt) is a non profit organisation (NGO) that aims to reduce the numbers of fires and injuries due to lack of safety methods used in poor villages and cure injured people both physically and psychologically. The NGO won first prize at the competition held by Cairo Runners to pick a place in which half the Marathon profit would go to.
Winning EFP 50,000 would allow the NGO to renovate over 4,000 crumbling and unstable houses, as well as raise the awareness of the danger comes from using the “Wabour” in poor villages. Among nine other organisations, “Ahl Masr” took first place with a huge number of online votes. Out of a total of 7,900 votes, 1,100 decided that they want the money they paid for the tickets of the marathon to go to “Ahl Masr”.
Around 7,000 people participated at the Cairo Half Marathon, with tickets prizes ranging from EGP 65-EGP 90, according to the running distance. For 10 days, the nine NGOs competed to take half of the profit for several community development forms.
The foundation works in the field of health and focuses on treatment, prevention and awareness for Child Burn Victims.
In Egypt, 2.8 billion people still use firewood, dung, coal and unstable gas powered stoves for cooking and keeping warm inside their homes every day, according to World Health Organization (WHO). As much as 17% of children with burns have a temporary disability and a shocking 18% are left with a permanent disability.
The second prize with EGP 25,000 went to “Alwan w Awtar” (Colours and Utters). The NGO aims to develop children’s abilities in educational, personal and ethical sides. This would be through creative and enjoyable educational and arts system. That would increase their talents in numeracy, literacy, language skills and to develop their self confidence, critical thinking and communication skills as they develop a love for lifelong learning.
The NGO targets poor children of Mokattam who usually do not have the opportunity to be educated in a proper way.
The voting was through a new online platform called “Nafez” (Apply). The platform connects NGO’s with private sector’s businesses to provide a form of spending the profits in a useful way. The Cairo Half marathon was the first private sector organization to spend half of their profits that way.
The marathon was held at Heliopolis, with several running distances to allow most of the people to participate. The distances were 21km, 7km, as well as the 1km family run.